Sunday, May 25, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 9

Hello, again. Last week was a bit better than the week before. But, I'm not going to lie, two days of that were spent writing a character bio for a role playing game I'm thinking of joining. But, I'm counting it as writing because of how detailed they want it - plus the fact that it somehow ended up in first person, like the character is telling you her own story. I've also almost finished the summaries of the scenes I have written so far. Finishing my rough draft by the end of June may take dedication, but I still think it's doable.

But, as for this week's question, you guys are in for a bit of a treat. This week, rather than answer a question, we're supposed to post an excerpt. I won't discuss how long it took me to decide what to post. My absolute favourite passage is from the climax - and I'd rather not give my ending away ;). So, instead, here's a little something from one of Catie's first times out in publlic after Eli's death. (I'm not giving anything away by that, one of Eli's biggest conflicts in the whole book is knowing that he's going to die, soon.) She's at a birthday party for a friend, and things are rough for her. One of Eli's friends has just told her to come by the recording studio some night for a talk.


"I'll have to do that. I seem to be acquiring a list of people that I need to talk to, lately."


"I'm still trying to get up the nerve to go talk to {the priest} about something."

"Afraid of him? Don't be. He's one of the good guys. He was a good friend of Eli's too."

"i'm not afraid of him. I'm afraid of what he might tell me. Adam says that he can tell me if I actually have Eli's ashes. I don't know if I'm hoping that I do, or that I don't. On the one hand, it would mean having the last of his mortal remains, which I do feel somewhat entitled to. On the other... It would make it very final, you know?"

"I can totally understand that. But better to know. What are you going to do if they aren't his ashes?"

"Possibly bust the damn bottle upside Seamus's head. Probably not. That would be suicidal. And I'm not really there. At least not right now." She stopped as she realized that Minnie wasn't the only one watching her. And some of them were downright staring.

William grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the room, closely followed by Laura. "What the fuck was that about? You're not there right now? Meaning you were before, or you could be eventually?"

"Honestly? Both. I was suicidal for a while after my daughter died. I'm not right now. But I'm not going to deny that part of that may simply be because if I were to commit suicide, then Seamus would win. Eli would want me to go on, and I'm trying. but I'm not going to put on a fucking mask and pretend that this is easier than it is. it is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I'm not going to sugar coat it. And honestly, if you're really that worried about me, you should be glad that I'm like this."

"Is that statement supposed to make sense?"

"Acting like this could really be a cry for help. Truly suicidal people don't want help. they just want to die. When Sabrina died... It was planning my own death that made me start acting normal, again. By the time I was ready to actually go get myself killed, everyone thought I was okay. To the point that nobody argued with me when I said I needed to get away for a while. By then, nobody suspected that I had no plans of going back."

"meaning that when ya start actin' normal again is when we need ta start worryin' 'bout ya? Oh that's just great. Are we gonna hafta have ya on suicide watch forever, now?"

"Is there a part of me that wants to just watch a sunrise and be done with it? yes, of course there is. maybe that is hard for you to understand, and maybe it worries you. But a part of me died with him, and I can't change that. I don't know what to tell you, right now. I loved him more than I ever thought it was possible to love someone. But 'loved' isn't actually the right word. It shouldn't even be a word at all. There is no past tense to 'love'. It's not something that goes away. And the death of the person you love certainly doesn't make it go away. I still love him. I will always love him. I could still be here when the sun explodes, and I will still love him, and I will still miss him. That's just how it is. Hopefully you two will never have to understand."

"So, what do we do for ya?"

"Don't leave me alone too much. Don't push, but check up on me once in a while. As horrible as I seem, right now, I really am doing about as good as can be expected, right now. I promise that I will get better. It's just going to take time. And I may never be the way I was. How can I be? I lost half of myself a few months. And I'm immortal. It could be millennia before I get him back. That's kind of hard to take."

Laura was pacing. "I don't want to have to put you on a suicide watch. But I don't want to lose you, too. You've gotta give us something."

"I don't know what else you guys want from me. And now I know how Eli felt talking to me before he went to England. I'm not suicidal, right now. I can't make promises about later. But, I've said this before, but it bears repeating. If I die, then Seamus wins. I will not let that bastard get away with this, and I will not give him the satisfaction of getting to watch me die, too. So, as long as Seamus is alive, I'm safe. At least from myself."

"Too bad he wants you dead."

"Yeah, there is that. We are going to have to do something about him, eventually."


Please ignore the typos, this is still in very rough draft form. It's not my FAVOURITE passage, but I like some of the lines, and I think that watching Catie try to come back after Eli's death is kind of heart-breaking. I hope you guys enjoyed it, at least a little bit. And this has given me the idea that maybe once the first draft is done and in order, I could start posting little mini-excerpts. Not as long as this one, but longer than the old 8 sentence Sunday snippets I was doing before. Hopefully people will find them interesting enough - because otherwise I'm in trouble. ;)

Yes, this is very late. I wrote it several days ago, but then I've been away from the internet for most of the past week. I'll try to get the next one posted tomorrow to catch up.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 8

We're just not even going to discuss my progress last week. I really don't know that I wrote anything beyond my blog post. It was just a bad week, all around. So, let's just skip ahead to this week's question.

My writing inspiration. I'm taking this to mean something more than my inspiration for my actual stories - especially since I'm pretty sure that there was a "where do you get your ideas" question a while back. And I am also pretty sure that we did the "why do you write" question. So, obviously this question means something a bit different than either of those potential meanings for the word "inspiration". I'm taking it to be a kind of "writing role models" kind of question. So, that's what I'm going to answer.

And the big one, for me, is Anne Bishop. I have lost track of the number of times I've read her Black Jewels Trilogy. Often enough that I read one set to destruction and had to buy new ones. (unfortunately, I have also lost track of who I lent it to, so I need to replace it, now). And it still affected me just as much on the most recent reading as it did on the first. I cannot read those books without crying - and laughing. And that is what I want for my readers. I want them to care about these people so much that they cry at the sad scenes. I want them to know these people so well, that they laugh at innocent seeming lines, because they can just imagine the looks on the characters' faces. And I want them to want to read it more than once. I want my books to be the old friends that readers turn to again and again.

I know that's a pretty tall order. And I know that I am no Anne Bishop. But it is certainly a goal to aspire to - to want to have the same effect on my readers that she had on me. While I can't credit her books with making me want to be a writer - I've wanted that for so long, I couldn't begin to try to remember what originally inspired that - she has definitely inspired my writing ever since discovering her.

There are others that have had a similar effect on me - Mercedes Lackey, especially The Last Herald Mage series; Anne McCaffrey's Acorna and Pern series; David Eddings Elenium series (and whatever the sequel to that was called, I seem to have forgotten it, at the moment.); a few others. But that is the one that sticks with me the most.

Anyway, that's my biggest writing inspiration. I'll talk to you all again this weekend with this week's check-in.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 7

I wrote this post a week ago. I have no idea why it didn't post...

So, I'm about 6 1/2 weeks in on my 90 day writing challenge. I'm not as far along as I would like to be, but that is at least partly because I have gotten to the point that I need some more organizational work before I can do more actual writing. I think I'm still on track to finish the rough draft before the end of the challenge, though. Not where I originally wanted to be, but way further than I was when I started.

This week's question is about what kind of writer I am, whether I'm a plotter or a pantser, character first or plot first, what kind of structure I use, that sort of thing. Now, how to answer those questions...

As for the plotter or pantser question, I prefer to look at it another way, because I'm really neither. I see myself more as a navigator, planning a cross-country trip. In a way, all writers are, the question is how do we plan that trip? Some, the pantsers, just point the car in the general direction of the destination and go letting themselves kind of drift across the countryside, as long as they're still heading in the right general direction (heck some of them don't even know the destination, and just let the characters or story drive). Others, the plotters, map out their route and only deviate if they run into a road that got closed. I'm somewhere in between. I have a map, I've even planned a route, but if the characters want to take me on a few detours along the way, or decide that taking I-55 doesn't work for them and they'd rather head a little east and hop on I-57 instead, fine. (Yes, I'm aware that both of those highways go north and south, and therefore aren't really great for a cross-country trip, but they're what's closest to me, and what I could think of off the top of my head.) As long as we keep heading in the right direction, and get to where we're going with a minimum of side trips, I'm okay. I've heard my writing style described as being a "plantser", but that word just sounds so odd to me.

I write very character-driven stories. The plots are little more than a way to explore these characters and see what makes them tick. As such, I usually start with the characters. Eternity's Price started as me wanting to tell Catie's and Eli's story. I've changed various things in the plot, adding things here, taking away things there, tweaking some other things, all to find the best way to show their love story. The whole POINT of Eternity's Redemption is my muse decided that Ana was a fun character and wanting to explore what made her the way she was. Eternity's Promise didn't even HAVE a plot beyond very nebulous ideas until I created Livvi for Magic's Curse, and Magic's Return is really about watching the vampires who used to be mages dealing with suddenly having their full powers back - and the oddest love triangle, ever. Let's just say that Rory's girlfriend is... interesting...

And finally, the kind of structure I use... And for that I have no answer. I don't think these are Hero's Journey kinds of stories, but that is the only plot structure I could actually recognize if I saw it. So... I have no idea what kind of structure I have. Maybe one of you guys can tell me, someday...

And that's it for today. Tomorrow I will post this week's check-in which will be about my inspiration for writing.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Have hammer will fix part 2 - or why I'm sitting in my apartment complex media center

So, I said on Monday that I would tell you guys on Wednesday about my latest computer issues. As usual, I'm behind schedule. This should not surprise anyone. But this time it isn't ENTIRELY my fault.

On Thursday, my laptop stopped charging. This really should not surprise me. I believe I mentioned before that I actually broke the cord that came with it over a year ago. I keep getting replacement chargers, but they keep burning out. This latest one spent three days making me play "jiggle the cord to find the sweet spot" (which sounds so wrong when I look at it) before it gave up the ghost. On a brighter note, with three days warning, I think I salvaged most of my stuff.

I was able to transfer a lot of files to dropbox - now if only my desktop could get into my dropbox account. And when I realized that I couldn't get into dropbox from my desktop computer, I put my book and all of my notes files onto my flash drive, so I was at least able to salvage that. That and screenshots of my Spotify playlist so I can work on getting my music back, and I'm still in business. With a few caveats.

You'll notice that I mentioned not being able to get into Dropbox? My desktop is over a decade old, it's running Windows XP, and is incapable of running anything that will allow me to use a "modern" browser. The only browser I can get to work on it is incompatible with probably 75% of the internet, maybe more. I can still surf, so I can get research done. But dropbox and google drive don't work. Almost anything that has a form to fill out doesn't work. My BLOG doesn't work - which is why I'm sitting in my apartment complex media center, right now. Because I can't even post to my own blog from my computer.

Though I think the thing I miss the most is Twitter. I swear I went through withdrawals over the weekend. I'm hoping our family garage sale is soon, because I'm using my money from it to buy ANOTHER charger, and hopefully getting my laptop back. Then I REALLY need to find a job, and my first few paychecks will go to replacing both of my computers so that I have two fully functioning computers again. Because this is getting ridiculous.

Anyway. That's my latest in the saga of my stupid computer. Tomorrow I'll hopefully do my writing challenge check-in.